Conspiracy of Love (谋爱上瘾) is a 2019 iQiyi web drama that began airing on August 12. It’s a revenge drama; the female lead Shu Bei lost her parents at a young age and enters Sheng Shi Group and gets close to its successor Sheng Jun for revenge.
Having watched several dramas in a row with innocent, kind-hearted female leads, I wanted something different and I’m seven episodes into Conspiracy of Love and enjoying it immensely. Although sometimes Shu Bei’s calculating actions make me cringe, I admire her craftiness and determination. I really hope she’s able to find some emotional closure for what happened in the past. I like her relationship with Sheng Jun because he’s not her target and they use each other, so it’s not unbalanced. Their bickering is very enjoyable. I also like that other characters are formidable opponents so it’s not like Shu Bei’s the only person who is scheming.
Sorry, there are no screencaps in this recap. Maybe for the next post though!
I watched this drama as it aired in July, but I wanted to think about it more before writing my review. Surprisingly, I found Go Go Squid! enjoyable from beginning to end. It’s really Han Shang Yan’s story, a young man approaching the age of 30 who holds grudges and regrets, single-mindedly pursuing his dream of winning a cybersecurity competition for China. The romance storyline helps him let people into his life again and let go of the unhappiness he’d bottled up in his heart. There are much more flashback than I expected, but I loved all the team and competition scenes.
This 41-episode drama is available on Viki with English subtitles and YouTube.
After finishing watching Fall in Love, Unrequited Love, AND Go Go Squid (review coming soon) recently I really needed a new drama to fill the void. I tried a couple episodes of Retourner Le Monde a Toi (Gu Li Na Zha’s new drama set in the fashion business) but wasn’t feeling it, and watched half the premiere episode of Mr. Fighting because I like Deng Lun and Ma Si Chun, but I wasn’t sold on that either. But then Love Is Deep hooked me!
Love Is Deep is about a girl who has loved her boyfriend for many years and worked alongside him as he started his own company. When she realizes he doesn’t love her the same way, she quits her job and decides to pursue her own dream of designing pet toys. Meanwhile, she develops a friendship with a handsome surgeon and his younger sister. The leads are both very likable and there are a lot of fun supporting characters. This drama is available on YouTube with English subtitles.
It was only after I started watching that I discovered this drama is based on a novel and I Hear You was based on a novel by the same author! Admittedly, I Hear You disappointed me but it did have a number of positives so here’s hoping Love Is Deep is better!
Unrequited Love was featured on my Netflix homepage (here’s the direct link) so I decided to give it a try. With a title like ‘Unrequited Love’ I had previously been hesitant to watch this because I thought it’d be too sad or angsty. However, this has turned out to be my favorite modern c-drama of 2019 so far! I loved it from start to finish, and enjoyed not only the central storyline but the wide cast of characters. Set in college, the drama features several different relationships, exploring unrequited love, the choices we make, second chances, and feelings not being black & white. There are a lot of moments of reflection and self-aware, relatable characters, and many moments that made me laugh out loud.
This drama is 24 episodes that are ~35 minutes each so it does not drag on, and is super easy to watch multiple episodes at once. I watched this right after Put Your Head On My Shoulder, and while they’re both set in college, they are so different—Unrequited Love is so thoughtful and mature, while Put Your Head On My Shoulder is light and fluffy.
It’s worth noting that this drama is based on a novel by Ba Yue Chang An (I’d like to read it), who also wrote the novels that the dramas My Huckleberry Friends (2017) and With You (2018) were based on. I haven’t watched either of those because they’re set in high school. There’s also a second adaptation of this novel that’s supposed to come out in 2020 starring Yi Tian and Hu Bing Qing and I plan to watch it as well.
Continue reading for my full review—there are no spoilers (aside from references to the promotional summary).
Fall in Love is a Chinese web drama from YouKu that was released in June-July 2019. You can watch it on YouTube, although the subtitles are automatically generated and not particularly accurate.
I came across this drama on my YouTube homepage and randomly decided to give it a chance. The summary on MyDramaList was so vague that I had no idea what to expect, but I soon understood why.
Short version of my review: in the beginning, curiosity about the mysterious female lead compels you to watch Fall in Love, but once all the pieces are on the table the story becomes rushed and uneven and falls into some classic drama clichés.
Continue reading for my spoiler-free full review!
The final episode of Fall in Love is fast-paced and ties up the drama’s storylines neatly and pleasantly.
(Ok fine, it felt very rushed but I lost interest many episodes ago so I’m not bothered by it. Review post coming soon!)
Put Your Head On My Shoulder is a 24-episode Chinese drama that aired in April-May 2019 and is available on YouTube with English subtitles.
The story centers around two college students pursuing very different fields, who find themselves living together due to their mothers being friends. As graduation approaches, they make decisions about their futures and fall in love with each other. This is a light and fluffy series with very little drama. If anything, the leads’ biggest obstacles are themselves, learning what they want and how to communicate it. It’s very much about navigating a relationship for the first time.
I really loved the first half of the series and found it charming and funny, but in the latter half I lost interest (a mix of it being slow, frustrating, and boring). While it was enjoyable, I don’t think this drama will make any of my best-of-2019 lists nor do I think I’d watch it again.
The penultimate episode of Fall in Love is quite dramatic. Lu Qiao continues to convince Hao Yun that Feng Ping can help him walk again, and turns to drastic measures. Feng Ping and Yue Sheng reflect over their past honestly.
(In case you missed my previous note, this drama lost its charm for me and became the kind of drama I felt like skimming through so I have not recapped episodes 16-28. I’ll post the episode 30 recap tomorrow & then an overall review!)
Shang Yan isn’t actually such a cold person, he just happens to be very serious and on the quieter side. He has a strained relationship with his grandpa and after Team Solo split up, so I can see how it may be difficult for him to let people get close to him. The timeline of what happened back then is still murky, but Xiao Mi makes a great point in episode 10 and I think he’s able to get through to Shang Yan. I really enjoy their friendship.
Also, I saw Hu Yi Tian’s role labeled as a “special appearance” and I now see why. He features prominently in several scenes, but he frequently doesn’t appear in larger K&K team group scenes. I enjoy his scenes with Shang Yan a lot, and although his character is very quiet as well, I find his facial expressions (confusion, amusement) to be on point.
In these episodes: Shang Yan’s grandpa has him bring Tong Nian over for dumplings. A small group of K&K and SP team members travel to Norway together for an individual competition. Ai Qing makes efforts to repair her relationship with Shang Yan.
Jun Hao and Qiu Tian meet again. Lu Qiao continues to do whatever it takes for the acquisition project. Yue Sheng looks into Gary, while Ming Xuan seeks out Feng Ping again.
I’ve actually watched through episode 29 (just waiting for that final episode!) and I’ve decided not to continue with these recaps. I’ll be writing up a recap of the last two episodes and a review. While this drama started out mysterious and promising, I don’t love the direction it took in the latter half and find the villainous characters to be insufferable.